Over-Creative Syndrome

There’s a time at which “creativity” crosses over into “utter insanity”. I’ll explain: you’re a writer on fire. You just want to write. You don’t know whether you want to write a romance, a sci-fi, a fantasy, a CRF, a Historical Fiction, a Revenge, A Hero’s Journey, A Race Against Time, or even fan fiction.

So, you decide to let your creative juices flow in one channel, unfettered. You write down whatever the heck that comes into your mind. Eventually, you discover that you have made a unicorn-driven Romance-Fantasy-Revenge that involves sci-fi and historical fiction elements, the plot of which is that the unicorns need to race against a literal Clock as they rush to save all of Unicornia from extinction at the hands of Bowser, the evil dinosaur.

Wait, what? That is certainly more creative than something like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. But is it better? “But this is random!” you might say. Ah, but it’s not unlike some of the fiction you’ll see on the market today. In fact, some of today’s writers have caught the dreaded disease known as Over-Creative Syndrome.

Now, what is Over-Creative Syndrome? It’s when you have a writer who desperately wants to fit all elements of writing fiction into the one project that they are currently working on. They’re like the tryhards of writing: they want so desperately to be good or to have something written, so they throw everything they can manage into one project.

Of course, there are other causes. If you have someone whose imagination is liable to “run away with them”, it’s possible that they have the Over-Creative Syndrome as well. This person simply does not let their imagination be tempered by the more calculating side of the brain, which leads to a sort of “creative leak”.

Why is this so bad? Well, for the reasons you can easily discern: it’s too much of a good thing. Creativity is good, heck, a lot of creativity is good, but too much (as we witnessed in the example above) is unacceptable.

Over-Creativity is like greed. You have to have all the characters, every plot device, every cool detail, until your story is more bloated than you’d like it to be. It becomes a veritable Frankenstein’s monster of unrelated plots, subplots, characters, references, and places.

There’s also the danger of your story growing too foreign. Some writers get into their head the ugly idea that everything in their world must bear exactly zero similarities with the real world and other fictional worlds. Their world often becomes vague or has nothing that the reader can relate to, which can result in lack of sympathy for the characters, overall confusion, and boredom.

Sometimes the Over-Creative Syndrome is just slightly over the top. Not often, though: those who commit themselves to hell will sink to the lowest part. These kinds of stories just end up seeming a teensy bit off: kind of like the difference between someone who’s just a little too outgoing versus someone who’s full on wants-to-know-everything about the person they just met. Still, there’s room for improvement here.

If you catch yourself with this dreaded disease, there’s a simple solution: temper your creativity with the more calculating side of your brain. There are a sect of writers who are ultra-calculating, but that’s the subject of another blog post. But a quick analyzation quenches over-creativity like water quenches fire.

The time when most writers realize what they’ve written is far-out is often when they take a step back and consider what they’ve written. This consideration, this analyzation often forces writers to come to terms with their work. It’s good to write like you’re on fire, but it’s also good to look over your work with a critical eye.

If you catch yourself writing too creatively, make changes that bring your story back down to what you want it to be. Be sure to look over your work regularly, often, and critically: be creative and precise, but don’t be over-creative or over-precise.

Good luck, and happy writing!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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